Labour disappointing on Venezuela abuses | Letters

Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to condemn the authoritarianism of Nicolas Maduro is a missed opportunity for Labour to stand up for human rights, writes Jean Grugel

Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to condemn the authoritarianism of Nicolas Maduro and the violence being inflicted on Venezuelans by the state (Report, 8 August) is a missed opportunity for Labour to stand up for human rights. The current crisis in Venezuela is not to do with anti-neoliberal or anti-austerity politics. It stems from a desire to hold on to power at all costs and a lack of respect for the democratic rights of citizens who think differently from the government. I write as a scholar of Latin American politics, a longstanding critic of neoliberalism and its consequences for the region, and someone generally supportive of the Latin American left’s attempts to pioneer new forms of social and political inclusion. And as a member of the Labour party. I call on other Latin Americanists and Labour party members to clearly condemn Maduro’s violence and repression.
Jean Grugel
Professor of development politics, University of York

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Authors voice fury at Russian publisher cutting gay scene from teen book

Author VE Schwab ‘devastated’ after discovering a storyline was cut without her permission in Russia, where LGBT books are regularly shrinkwrapped

VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic series follows the story of the magician Kell, a “traveller” with the ability to move between four parallel versions of London. Acclaimed and bestselling – in the Guardian it was called “a compelling, swashbuckling read” – the young adult fantasy trilogy features a diverse array of characters, from the gender-fluid pickpocket Lila to the bisexual prince Rhy. However, Schwab was horrified to learn last week that her books aren’t quite so diverse in Russian translations, where her publisher excised a scene about the romantic relationship between two male characters.

“The Russian edition of Shades of Magic has been my favourite. This week I learned that they redacted the entire queer plot w/out permission,” she wrote on Twitter to her more than 50,000 followers, describing herself as “positively devastated”.

Related: Russian ‘gay propaganda’ law ruled discriminatory by European court

Related: Fanny Hill: why would anyone ban the racy novel about ‘a woman of pleasure’?

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Lebanon repeals law that allowed rapists to escape justice by marrying victim

Rights groups welcome abolition of article 522 of penal code and say decision raises hopes other states will follow suit

Lebanon has joined a number of other Arab states in scrapping a law that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.

Lawmakers voted on Wednesday to repeal an article of the Lebanese penal code that deals with rape, assault, kidnapping and forced marriage. Jordan and Tunisia banned similar laws this year.

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Buses in Seoul install 'comfort women' statues to honour former sex slaves

The statues were installed on five buses by the Dong-A Transit company, with the support of the Seoul mayor – although the use of public space to highlight this unresolved wartime atrocity has angered some in Japan

Buses serving several routes in central Seoul have acquired a new and highly controversial new passenger: a barefoot “comfort woman”, wearing a traditional hanbok dress with her hands resting on her knees.

Appearing on the front seat of buses in the South Korean capital earlier this week, the statues were installed by the Dong-A Transit company as a potent reminder of an unresolved wartime atrocity whose roots lie in Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.

It horrifies me just to imagine what these women went through

Related: Lacking Seoul? Why South Korea’s thriving capital is having an identity crisis

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The only thing stop and search cuts is trust in the police | Lee Jasper

Theresa May knows it. My research proves it. This tactic is ineffective in cutting crime, and shreds black and minority confidence in the law. Why is it on the rise?

• Lee Jasper chairs the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium, and is a former policing director for the Greater London Authority

In over 30 years as an activist seeking to reform police practice, including a period providing mayoral oversight of Scotland Yard, I’ve met some incredibly talented, committed and progressive officers. One who sticks in my mind is Tim Godwin, a former deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police, whose favourite theory was what he called “the policing cycle of reinvention”. It stated that whenever progressive policing reform was enacted, it would be resisted from below, and then confronted by sustained political pressure. Unsupported by leaders without vision, the reforms would then collapse.

Related: Amber Rudd backs Met police chief on use of stop and search

Related: Stop and search is not used fairly, most young BAME people believe

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